Monday, January 26, 2015
On Friday February 18, 2011, God did the unthinkable in our life: He chose to take our 12-year-old son, Trent, home to heaven in a skiing accident.
It is only considered “the unthinkable” because our plans are not God’s plans, and our ways are not God’s ways.
Before Trent was born we had entrusted the Lord with his life and had asked Him, above all else, to bring salvation to our son. Our greatest desire was that he would be used in a mighty way for God’s glory, and that God would let him dwell in heaven for eternity.
God answered our prayers that Friday in a mightier way than we could have imagined, and we have been rejoicing in His good works and His mercies ever since.
Trent was a boy who truly lived. From the very beginning he did what he loved and enjoyed to the full the gifts and skills that God had given him. In his short life he saw much of this world, traveling as far as India, the Bahamas, Bass Pro Shop in Missouri where he explored his favorite destination on his golden birthday, as well as many family camping trips. God instilled a love of hunting and fishing in Trent, and a joy of the great outdoors. Since he was little all he wanted was to turn 12 to be able to go deer hunting. During his 12th year God allowed him to shoot two deer. Trent loved to pick on his siblings Alexis, Cole, Grace, and Micah, to protect his mother, to snuggle with his father, and to be with his friends, especially his best friends: Thomas and Samuel. He tried everything that interested him, even carving his own long bow and succeeding in taxidermy. In his short years he lived life to the fullest.
But as we are all destined to, Trent also died. On Friday, February 18, 2011, we said goodbye to our son as he left for a skiing trip with his friends, not knowing that he would never be coming back home. God says that He knows the number of our days, that He has created each one, and that He will do what He pleases (Psalm 115:3; Job14:5).
God’s standards to enter His kingdom are high: He expects perfection. Trent was not perfect, not even close. God graciously provided His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, as the atonement for our sinfulness and requires that we simply believe and acknowledge Him for it. Jesus has already paid the price.
For most of his life Trent struggled with his own sinfulness before God. He knew that he was not right before God, and nothing he could do would ever make up for the sins he had committed to make him worthy to enter heaven. In the spring of 2010, God graciously chose to bring salvation to Trent through repentance and the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Trent’s life was transformed and we enjoyed the young fruit in his life as we watched God work.
It was with great peace and much rejoicing, then, that we as his family have sent him off before us and accepted God’s perfect plan for Trent’s life. Our longing is that God would be glorified in what He has done to wake up many to the realization that we are not guaranteed any number of years in this world (Psalm 39:4-5).
On Friday morning we had our son; on Friday afternoon he was gone.
What we have asked so many people since the accident is: “What if it had been you? Where would you be right now?”
We diligently raised Trent up to know his sinful state and taught him what the Word of God says because we know the implications of denying Christ now, and God was gracious to answer our prayers and to save him. Scripture says that the gospel will go forth with much sorrow and heartache. Please let Trent’s short life be a wake-up call to you. We are rejoicing in the sorrow because we know where our son is and that we will one day be with him again for eternity because of our own salvation.
God's mercies are new every day and His peace does surpass all understanding (Lamentations 3:22-23; Philippians 4:6-7). God has been so gracious to us by blessing us first of all with His peace in His perfect plan. The family and friends who have surrounded us and have lifted us up in prayer are amazing and another testimony to God’s goodness.
It is with great rejoicing that we release our son, Trent, age 12, to our Heavenly Father. Dance before your King, my son.
The Romans road to salvation:
Romans 3:23; 3:10-18; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9; 10:13; 5:1; 8:1; 8:38-39
Monday, December 22, 2014
|Click the picture to go to YouTube to hear the message.|
“In [Christ, I was] also chosen,
having been predestined according to the plan of Him
who works out everything in conformity
with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians1:11
Several months ago I was invited to be the guest speaker at a ladies luncheon. The clear message laid upon my heart was one of being desperate for God, with the main theme being that God does what it takes in our lives to make us desperate for Him: this is His mercy to display His glory, not primarily in this life, but in the one to come. Click on the picture above to be taken to the YouTube website to hear the message.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I've been listening to Francis Chan again - an addicting habit when I need some lively conviction. He was talking about living missional. Spell check is screaming at me that missional isn't a word (there it goes again) but there is no other word that I know of to describe the act of living with every fiber of your soul being in the continuous state of knowing and telling the good news of Jesus.
To live missionally together would mean to continuously spur each other on to keep the end goal in mind, specifically that Jesus is coming soon. To find a few other nut-cases who have been as radically transformed by the Holy Spirit as you have can be difficult, but when you find them, you keep them close. There are a couple of ladies in my life, some who read this blog, who help keep me on track through prayer, through challenging of the Word, through accountability. But sadly, missional lives are rare. Our days, in and of themselves, are not being lived out as if we are anticipating the return of Jesus any time soon. They are not typically about how to glorify His name through loving others and dying to self. I also stand guilty as charged.
After Trent's accident there was no one exempt from our sharing. How many hundreds of people heard the gospel in those first few weeks would be impossible to count. As the message appears to be dulled in so many of those hundreds, as the evidence of their lives continuing to go on, day by day, seemingly unchanged by the words of life, God alone knows which of those seeds of truth planted will one day sprout. But He promised that His word would not go out and return void (Isaiah 55:11). Glimpses of the harvest through one planted seed have encouraged us to get out of bed for these many days since.
Mornings often find me on my face bawling. The uttering of my desire to just be with God overwhelms me. Believer, do the mornings not find you in the same state? Does the thought of the satisfaction of seeing God not obsess you? Is the reality of eternity not constantly on your mind? Does it not consume you to think of every soul you meet, to wonder about their state of salvation?
Richard Baxter put it much more eloquently than I could ever dare to dream to portray the matter. Please do read the whole passage (click for the link) from one of my favorite books, The Saint's Everlasting Rest. Let it burn in your mind and cause a greater longing for this God of Holiness to use your life in ways that will be glorified throughout eternity. It's going to be a long time, this eternity. Live today how you want to live then: being satisfied in Jesus.
"Why do I so easily forget my resting place? O my soul, does the dullness of your desire after rest not accuse you of most detestable ingratitude and foolishness? Must your Lord purchase you a rest at so costly a price, and you not value it more? Must He go before to prepare so glorious a mansion for such a wretch, and are you reluctant to go and possess it? Shall the Lord of glory desire your company, and you do not desire His? Must earth become a very hell to you before you are willing to be with God? If your successful efforts and godly friends seem better to you than a life with God, it is time for God to take them from you...
I am willing to stay here on earth while You will use me. Give me the work which You have for my hands. But when it is done, take me at my best. I don't want to be so impatient as to ask You to cut off my time and take me home before I am prepared, for I know my eternal reward depends so much on the use I make of this life. But neither would I stay here when my work is done. While I must be absent from You, let my soul as sincerely groan as my body does when it is sick."
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
Perhaps I will chronicle our beginning struggles and triumphs to settle this little .7 acre haven another day, but this morning this verse stopped me in my tracks.
Do not love the world or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
For everything in the world-
the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-
comes not from the Father but from the world.
The world and its desires pass away,
but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17
The love of the world. What a powerful force. It creeps its way into our hearts and soon overtakes. It oftentimes becomes our reality, until reality reveals itself for what it really is. Our made up worlds with their made up prizes consume us, and we realize sometimes too late that we were our own creators of them rather than seeking The Creator. I don't want to realize too late that I invested into the wrong kingdom. Our families desire as we set out over a year ago to leave it all behind was to intentionally push forth the Kingdom of Jesus. Now we ponder how.
If my strength comes from being united with Christ, then I must start there. But my mind is in a jumble. Demands of the necessity of living have temporarily overtaken my energy for seeking that source. A sewer, some water and electricity, and finally as of this week, the joys of Wi-Fi. Then I am somehow shocked, in the midst of it, to realize for the billionth time that my son is in Heaven. The familiar panic attacks hit with a vengeance. Reality again rears its head above the pseudo peace that envelops this new life of ease. This world and its desires are passing away. I don't have to look very far for the truth of that Scripture. All worldly cravings, all the hungers to boast and long for and desire temporary delights do not come from the Father. The crevice in my brain that holds that truth appears again, I can feel the power of it in my soul. This world is not my home. I remind myself that I am a sojourner, only traveling through. Being bogged down with more stuff should not be my desire.
Then what is?
I don't know. Answering that question has consumed me. I don't know what it is to truly live for Christ, live for eternity, live to make a difference, live to not waste my life on the day that I stand before the God of the universe. The overwhelming knowledge of an Abba Father God is very prominent in my knowing of who He is, but so is the Master of the Talents who really will call for an account. My fear is myself. Scared to give it all, share it all, lest it be trampled here. But I forget in that line of thought that even if God's work is trampled here by man, there is a heavenly host watching where that trampling has glory. It is worth it to give all, love all, and forsake the world.
God has allowed rest. He seems to be calling, encouraging, offering, insisting rest. But I don't know how to rest in Him. It seems to be more work to rest in Him than to make my own way. Even if I am incapable, He has continued to pour out blessings. This God who provides is a profound revelation. It's not something that I quite know how to sort out. My emotions feel flat lined even as I long to feel the power of the goodness of God, but at the same time I am too scared to. Imagine the power of that depth of love. Not for my sake, not for my self righteousness, but because it cost the blood of His Son to love me so deeply. And after that crushing of His beloved, because of it, God loves me. Letting that sink in must require rest.
A lighthouse was the other word that God applied to this move. As we inch our way into this settled community of lake dwellers, I have prayed to be a lighthouse of the gospel. As our house sits a bit on a hill, I can envision the light of Christ shining out. At least I hope it will be shining out. I want immediate, but I forget that God works on a different time table. Usually years, rather than moments. But the moments add up to years, and there have already been so many powerful moments to add to the equation. Our home, half done as it is, has had an open door to visitors nearly everyday since we've been here. Not minding that there is no front deck, and even enduring the outhouse, lack of electricity and meals cooked on a propane cylinder, God has brought so many souls to pour into. How I love this aspect of our new location.
A good reminder, this swift kick of sound theology this morning, as I sit enjoying the view this side of Heaven. This lake is passing away, this house is passing away, along with everything inside of it, even this body is passing away. But the one who does the will of God lives forever. I hope Jesus comes soon. I hope I am found being faithful when He does.
Friday, July 11, 2014
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world,
yet forfeit their soul?
Jesus taught that to follow him is to die. Before we can live for Christ we must die to self. Really die. Die to this world. Die to its drawings and desires. Die to the temporal to live for the eternal. This won't be accomplished by ourselves. It won't be pain free. It will include suffering. Without it, I don't think a person can truly know their Savior this side of Heaven.
How I pray, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He wakes you up; that the Spirit would open your eyes to leave this world behind as you walk your short days in it and learn to suffer with Him who suffered. That you would know your Creator as your Comforter and that the result would be that He is your greatest treasure to be sought.
I've been doing a lot of dieing lately.
It frees the soul as much as it tortures the heart.
The reward: a glorious eternity.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Speaking as a veteran mother who thought she would never survive three children under the age of four, and then gladly went on to add two more kiddos to the chaos, I can honestly tell you that they do grow up too fast. In hindsight, the diapers were easy. The tween years, then the teen years, challenge the foundation that was poured out while life sped by. But rock by rock, hopefully with solid Christ rocks, you are making a difference in the long run, even when you can't see past the temper tantrums and the rolling eyes of a twelve year old who thinks she is beyond you. In the end, there is much joy to welcome the beautiful result of a Christ honoring young adult.
Love your children beyond measure.
Love Christ and His word more.
Be the example.
Eternity is at stake.
This life is short.
Stay eternally focused.
For you and them.
Stay home. Love your children. Feed and water them. Nourish their souls with the Word of God.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13